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Bass traps

Written on 6 September 2010 by Dan Lyth

It really is incredible how much the level of a low frequency sound can vary, not only with slight variations in frequency but also as you physically move around a room. This is what I found myself thinking as my friend Ali and I walked around the new studio. Our ears and the acoustic measurement device told the same story.

We had spent a while doing various room mode calculations to work out where the problem frequencies were likely to be and were now in the process of doing some real tests in situ. Thankfully, we were expecting the results that were now being observed and had already begun planning our lines of defence.

After weighing up the various considerations of problem frequencies, their corresponding wavelengths and the available space, we made a plan. In the end we ordered 5 large packs (120cm by 60cm by 50cm) of Rocksilk RS60 (equivalent to Rockwool RW3) which took several trips to get to the studio in my reasonably sized car!

A triangular template, electric carving knife, itchy hands and some hours later, three floor to ceiling bass traps were in place, constructed from the pieces I had cut.

The difference to the sound of the room was noticeable immediately but these hairy looking bass traps weren’t pretty… Somewhat coincidentally, my wife had just finished designing a web site for a tweed manufacturing company and managed to get us a great price on a large amount of quality tweed, ideal for covering the front faces.

The finished bass traps now stand proudly in their luxurious apparel faithfully providing the studio a wonderful service in controlling those wild bass frequencies.

Diffusers

Written on 24 June 2010 by Dan Lyth

Photo

On the back wall of the studio we decided to install some diffusion panels to break up the sound of the reflections without killing them completely (the side and front walls already have plenty of mid frequency absorption). I looked back on my university notes on how to calculate the dimensions for an effective Quadratic Residue Diffuser, thinking I would able to design my own rather than buy the somewhat overpriced options on the market (a lot of the cost of these is down to the technical knowledge required to construct them anyway).

I then stumbled upon this white paper from the BBC which describes in detail how to design a variation on the standard QRD diffuser. The design seemed to be perfect for the studio needs so I set about making one.

To make one panel required lengths of wood totalling at 18m, some careful measurement and a lot of patience! Pleased with the results, I made another.

There was only one thing left to decide – what colour to paint them… The painting process in itself was somewhat arduous, with a couple of base coats required for each panel (very fiddly) and then the tops of the 144 protruding little squares. I’m quite pleased with the results though, both acoustically and aesthetically, and have had several requests for them from various people (not all studio owners!).